H&M cosmetics haul

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I love H&M. In fact, I think I have always loved H&M (particularly during my student days; those £9.99 zip up hoodies have a lot to answer for), but I’m especially loving it right now. You know how you go through phases of shopping in one place, to the point where you get sick of it and end up wasting money on stuff you don’t actually want or need (I’m looking at you here Primark)? Well that’s me and H&M. I shopped there religiously as a student, and then when I left uni it just…stopped. Mostly due to lack of access to a local store, but also because back then their online delivery service was shockingly slow; not good for someone like me, with zero patience (or comprehension of how long it actually takes for things to be delivered).

Anyway, a new store opened up near me recently, and whilst I couldn’t find any clothes that caught my eye, oh MY did the cosmetics section sucker me in. Brushes are my latest obsession, so I took the opportunity to stock up on a few I needed to complete my collection. And obviously some other stuff that I most definitely did not need got thrown into the mix and, you know, took a trip to the till with me.

Here’s what I bought…

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Light pink make up bag, £5.99; make up brush cleaner, £2.99; nail polish remover, £2.99; eye make up remover, £1.50; BB cream brush, £5.99; eyeshadow brush, £1.99; mini kabuki brush, £2.99

So far, my favourites are the make up brush cleaner (I am sadly obsessive over the cleanliness of my brushes!), eyeliner brush and BB cream stippling brush, which gives excellent coverage – though I’ve found it’s best to kind of blob your foundation or BB cream on your face first, then work it in. I’m less impressed with the mini kabuki brush – I mean it looks awesome, obviously, but really it’s too small – I wanted to apply bronzer with it but just ended up with two massive streaks on my cheeks. Eek. The eye make up remover is good, and does get the left over bits that face wipes and cleanser leave behind but is a tad greasy for my liking. I’m yet to actually try the nail polish remover but, you know, how wrong can you go with that?!

All in all an excellent haul. Hurrah for H&M!

Summer Wishlist

After what was a thoroughly disappointing week weather-wise last week, July has totally pulled it out of the bag this week hasn’t it? I’m not sure if it’s just this tropical heatwave that’s making me lust for new things (this time last week I swear I could smell Autumn in the air) or the fact that so many shops are having crazy good sales at the moment. Either way, here’s what’s floating my boat at the moment…

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1. We don’t really have a garden – well, that’s a lie, we do have a garden. It’s just a crap one. Overlooked by the road and pavement it is officially The Least Relaxing Place on Earth. And therefore we’ve only sat in it about 4 times since we moved in 5 years ago. However, this year I am lusting after garden furniture like mad. Is it my age? Probably, but I’m also wondering if a bit of a spruce up and some jazzy accessories might not make it more enticing. This Oliver Bonas Primrose Table in peony pink is right at the top of the list right now – and for £64 it’s a totally justifiable spend.

2. Same goes for these solar lights – and they’re only £12 from Sainsbury’s. Bargain!

3. Confession time – I actually have this M&S drinks dispenser already. It came into the early summer sales for £12 (reduced from £15) so I nabbed it. Quite what I will do with it or when I will use it is another matter, but WHO CARES about that kind of stuff?!

4. I actually have a bit of an obsession with glass tumblers. Last week I bought four flamingo print ones in Ikea just because they were 50p each. Yep. So naturally these also caught my eye when I was idly browsing the George at Home website the other day.

5. In-keeping with my lust for a) gardens, b) flamingos and c) anything pink is this flamingo garden stake. I sincerely hope I’m strong enough to resist spending £12 on this bad boy – 1) because, you know, where the hell do I put it? 2) it’s £12 and I would need more than 1, making it a not-so-thrifty-afterall purchase and 3) I will almost 100% definitely forget to bring it inside over winter and it’ll rust into oblivion. But one can’t hurt, right?!

6. The PERFECT summer hat. I left my last straw trilby on honeymoon by accident so have been scouring a replacement since. And as this one’s only £6 from Matalan I’m sure I won’t be too upset when it blows away/I sit on it/leave it on a plane again.

7. I refuse to buy any more summer clothes this season, but jewellery? There’s always room for jewellery. Especially when it’s mint green. Another £6 Matalan bargain!

8. Is there a more perfect bag than this? And a justifiable purchase in that gold can be used all year round. That’s my excuse anyway. This beauty is £10 from Tesco and is most likely to be the cause of my next marital argument when I return from the food shop having replaced the bread/milk/butter/cheese/whatever with it. Needs must.

Tesco Christmas in July press day

Yep, it’s that time of year again. Christmas. In July. And no one does Christmas in 24 degree heat in the middle of London quite like Tesco. I’ve been coming to the Tesco Christmas press event ever since my first job as an Editorial Assistant eight whole years ago. Back then, it blew my mind that people could even be considering Christmas when Wimbledon was on the telly and Pimms should be flowing as freely as water.

I always look forward to coming up to London and soaking in the festive spirit for a couple of hours – Tesco always make such a huge effort with their press days and I L-O-V-E seeing everything that’s due for release well ahead of time.

As always, Tesco are on-trend, showcasing two or three key looks that we can expect to see across the board this winter. Last year’s Nordic/rustic/vintage look is back again (my personal favourite) and it looks as though the neons and bright colours that are so popular at the moment will stay right through to winter, too. Oh, and there’s obviously a play on Gatsby Glam this year too, with lots of black and gold – such a beautiful and elegant look but too strong for the decor in our house. Although there were a few pieces (the gold sequin lights in particular) that I definitely think could work separately to be incorporated into my christmas decor.

So anyway, here it is peeps, Christmas in July…

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I adore the traditional red and white look – which is funny, because I used to HATE red at Christmas and even went as far as having a black tree one year (and a white one the year after, but the less said about that the better). The chunky knits, tartan cushions, chalkboards with quirky Christmas mottos and jam jars with red and white striped straws will definitely be making an appearance over the winter months. Or maybe sooner.

Most of the stuff here (and this isn’t even half of it, seriously), will be available in-store from October.

Neon Tropical Wedding Inspiration

One of the things I adore about working in the wedding industry is seeing how ideas and themes evolve and transform each year. When I started out, everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – was purple. And this was before Pantone projected Radiant Orchid upon us. Last year, the pastels and vintage colours were huge (and still are by the looks of it – albeit with a more rustic twist this year) and even I succumbed and incorporated them into my own big day. This year – well, this year it’s all about out and out colour. The bigger and brighter the better, so it seems. Especially when it comes to mixing and matching colours.

What I have discovered, though, is that the composition of the trends set by the wedding industry each year run alongside or take root from what’s happening in the world of fashion and interiors. And 2014, apparently, is seeing a tropical revival – think crazy fruit-based prints, palm trees, tropical birds, Hawaiian shirts and neon; lots and LOTS of neon.

So way back at the  beginning of spring, when we were having not so glorious weather, I spent a (very cold, very wet) day helping Jenny of BellabooandBeau merge the worlds of fashion and weddings together with a tropical, neon wedding inspiration shoot. Outside, it was pouring, blowing a gale and I spent the entire day wearing a rain mac. Inside, however, Operation: Club Tropicana was in full swing. These are just a few sneaky behind-the-scenes shots that I took on my phone whilst we were setting up. To see the shoot in all its post-edited glory (with full credits to all the suppliers involved on the day), you can head over to Rock ‘n Roll Bride.

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How amazing is that birdcage?! (which was a total logistical nightmare, by the way, but you have to suffer for art so I’m told). Of all the looks and trends I’ve put together or seen come together, this is actually the simplest by a long way as the colours speak for themselves and do all the work for you. And because Washi tape was invented – what the hell did anyone actually DO before that?!

Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson Hotel

Whenever I’m asked what my favourite meal is (or, for want of a more morbid topic, what my last meal would be, given the choice), afternoon tea is always the answer. I mean, what’s not to love about tiny sandwiches, ten different types of cake, good old English tea and champagne? Since having tea in Mayfair a few years ago, I’ve sort of made it my mission to make a point of having afternoon tea somewhere nice at least once a year. Last year it was Harrods for my hen do (seriously, the BEST tea I’ve ever tasted, nothing has compared since) which is kind of hard to top. Although this year, I’ve found a pretty good contender.

I’d heard talk of the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson Hotel for a while. It’s cropped up on various blogs and my Instagram feed regularly, so I knew it was right up my street. Couple that with one (early) birthday celebration and a Groupon discount code and I was booking train tickets left, right and centre.

If tea, cakes and miniature carrot meringues (eek!) aren’t your thing, then avert your eyes now. If they are, however, then take a look at this glorious feast…

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Everything was so impressive – from the little details like the riddles on the napkin rings, the cute little paper crowns on the tea pots (banking those ideas for a future party!) and sugar cubes in the vintage style jewellery boxes (anyone else have one of these? Anyone else still got one of these? Is it just me?!) right through to the food, every little detail was thought of carefully.

The choice of teas were far better than anywhere else I’d ever experienced, and the selection was so quirky (we went for mint chocolate, apple pie and rhubarb) that I even forewent my beloved Earl Grey on this occasion. And that’s saying something. And just when I thought I couldn’t fit another morsel in, out came ANOTHER teeny tiny cake, this time of the birthday variety. Which I ate, obviously (despite saying I thought I would die if I put another thing in my mouth).

My only criticism would be that there seemed to be an awful lot of sweet and not enough savoury – we ordered extra sandwiches but they took so long to arrive that we’d made a hefty dent on the cakes by that time and were sugared up to the eyeballs by then. Oh, and the jelly – weirdest consistency ever, sort of like grainy wallpaper paste, so unless that’s your thing then skip the jelly cart!

There were a lot of families treating their children to tea on the day we went – and I can only imagine that this would be such an exciting experience for any child who wants a ‘grown up’ tea with a twist.

We booked our tea through Groupon, so got a discount on the total, but for more information on pricing or the menu itself (we were asked if we had any dietary requirements when seated, so I assume the hotel caters for any you might have) you can read more about the Mad Hatter’s Tea here.